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A lot of white feminists are rebelling against the idea of "intersectionality", saying it detracts from women, is anti-male, and encourages many of them to "play the victim". A classic example of this attitude is "Christina Hoff Sommers unleashes blistering critique of modern feminism at university lecture"

That's some grade A bullshit right there.

You see, most white women don't see a "need" for intersectionality, and they think it detracts from "feminism". That's primarily because they only have one axis of oppression: they're a woman. Everything else is stacked in their favor - the are pretty, thin, white, cisgender, heterosexual, christian, able-bodied, neurotypical, and all of the other stuff that is considered "normal" female. So to their eyes, there is only one oppression - patriarchy - and all the rest are inconsequential, since it doesn't affect them.  That's how you get TERFs - radical "womyn only" feminists who insist that anyone designated male at birth is forever one of the "oppressors", blah, blah, blah.

It's a really arrogant and privileged way of thinking.  What's worse is that some of them do have other axes of oppression, but they will oppress themselves rather than admit it. Mental illness, disability, poverty, alternative religion, etc, are shat on by our society too, but these one trick ponies won't admit that those things compound the issues that women in our society have to deal with, because they can often "pass" for normal.

So what is intersectionality, and why does it matter even to white women?

Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality,. Identity Politics, and Violence Against. Women of Color is the paper where the term first appears. While initially it was applied most often to women of color, it soon became apparent that there were multiple axes of oppression and discrimination, both major and minor.

The term tends to have an academic bend to it, and our anti-intellectual society doesn't much like it. Plus, a lot of mainstream white feminists hate it because it doesn't center
them, but rather centers women of color and the multiple areas of discrimination that they face. Oh, boo, hoo, hoo. I guess we white women will have to let someone else drive the movement, and acknowledge them for it. Because the world really doesn't revolve around cis het abled middle-class white women, and they get butt hurt pretty easily.

But for white women who aren't young, thin, pretty, cis, het, abled, neurotypical Christians, it matters a lot. It explains why those of us who don't fit the "norm" for white feminists don't feel welcome in those spaces. It explains why we don't fit in mainstream feminism, with it's celebrations of menstruation, childrearing
and dieting.

Another way of seeing intersectionality is by looking at it as facets of the individual's life an personality that interact and sometimes clash (intersect) with society and other people.

Let's look at my facets, some of which can be a two edged sword:
I'm white, disabled, afab, enby, butch, ace, physically disabled, have memory deficits, fat, on the high side of middle aged, married to another woman, childfree, geeky, science fiction and fantasy fan, filker, pagan, non-brit-trad, introverted, iconoclast, intellectual, writer, crafty, middle class, ex-poor, outspoken, tolerant of alternative medicine, progressive, own a small business, own a house, tend to clutter, and swear like a sailor!

That's over 30 facets, all of which can intersect with the biases and bigotries of others, and thus cause me grief. I'm not going to be able to hide some of them very well (pass), and I can't hide most of them for very long. So even though I'm white, there are a lot of facets to my life that your average cis het abled skinny Christian white person isn't going to be disposed to tolerate very well, and may well cause me inconvenience, financial loss, or bodily discomfort or harm.

I actually have examples of how many of them have cost me jobs, promotions, housing, social standing or friends over the years. It's not just because I'm assigned female, it's all of the other things too.

That's intersectionality. 

Now if you take someone like me, and flip the white to black or latinx, you end up with a severe uphill row to hoe in order to get anywhere in life, or even survive outside of poverty.  That's why the black womanist community uses intersectionality so much - because it more accurately describes the web of discrimination that they are trapped in in our society.

Since mainstream white feminism doesn't consider any of these things to be relevant to it's struggle against "the patriarchy", it tends to look down its collective nose at people who want to be seen as more than just a woman fighting the patriarchy. Mainstream white feminism sees this as "playing the victim", because we acknowledge that we are oppressed for more than just our gender, and that just curing the sexism won't magically make it all better.

As an intersectional feminist, I realize that racism, classism, ableism cis-sexism, heterosexism, religious discrimination, dominionism, anti-intellectualism and even fascism are part of and adjunct to the struggle against simple sexism that feminists engage in. In our society you can't really tease apart all of the biases, they overlap so much it isn't even funny.

But women like Christina Hoff Summers will sit in their smug little privileged world and talk smack about people who discuss intersectionality, and spread their particular brand of privileged bullshit. And the NY Times and The National Review will give them friendly, sympathic coverage. Thus my life, and the lives of other people who have more than one facet that our society discriminates against, will get a little harder, because we've now been labeled as "playing the victim", along with all of our other conflicts with people like Ms Sommers.

You know what I have to say about that? Fuck Christina Hoff Summers and her smug white feminism with a rusty chainsaw. She does no service to any women who don't pass her brand of narrow, white, middle class, cis, het, able-bodied feminism.

If that's "real" feminism, then I'm not a "feminist".

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